Prof. Saunders is a native of Virginia, having been born near the historic old county town of Louisa Court House, on January 15, 1870. His parents were Hezekiah and Louisa (Thompson) Saunders.
Young Saunders laid the foundation of his education in the public school, passing to Storer College, where he did his college preparatory work. When ready for college, he went North and matriculated at Bates College, Lewiston, Me. Speaking of his struggles there, he said, "As I had but $25.00 when I reached Bates College, it was necessary for me to get all the work I could. So I would do house cleaning or any little thing that would bring me some little money. In the summer, I worked by the day, getting from a dollar to a dollar and a half per day, and in this way was nearly able to meet my expenses." He was graduated with the class of 1899, with the degree of A.B.
He began teaching in Mercer County, W. Va., in a one room school which he taught for three months, then resigned to take the principalship of the school of Hagerstown, Md., completing there the unexpired term of another teacher. The following year, he went to Bluefield, W. Va., as principal of the colored school there. At the end of that time he was appointed teacher in the Bluefield Colored Institute a State school. He taught in the Institute for five years. The school year 1906-07 was spent in the public schools of McDowell County. In 1907 he was called back to Storer College, this time as a teacher and has been identified with that institution for fourteen years. While in college he was active in college athletics, playing mostly foot ball and tennis. On September 10, 1914, Prof. Saunders married Miss Inez Marie Johnson, daughter of Jacob and Mattie Johnson, of Institute, W. Va. Mrs. Saunders was educated at Bluefield and Storer and is herself an accomplished teacher.
In politics Prof. Saunders is a Republican. He belongs to the Baptist Church, in which he is a deacon and a trustee, and among the benevolent orders, is identified with the True Reformers. His favorite reading consists of History, Science and Literature.
He knows of no short cuts to progress for the race or for the individual. He says, "The best interests of the race may be promoted by teaching the use of every opportunity for betterment and above all the saving and wise investment of money."
History of the American Negro Index
West Virginia History Center